23 July 2018

Circumcision in the News

Denmark Considering Ban on Circumcision
15 Jun 2018
“The introduction of an 18-year minimum age for circumcision puts children’s interests and rights at the forefront,” the text states. It calls for a jail term of up to six years for anyone who performs a circumcision, and holds parents and guardians responsible whether the act happened in Denmark or not. More than 50,000 people signed a petition on the Danish parliament’s website endorsing the text, which equates non-medical circumcision of boys with female genital mutilation. In Denmark and other European countries, campaigns to ban non-medical circumcision of boys — a religious initiation rite that Muslims call khitan and Jews call milah – have been brewing for years. The Danish parliament is set to become the first in the European Union to vote on a nonbinding motion calling to prohibit the practice.

The Story Behind the Cate Blanchett ‘Penis Facial’ Controversy
03 March 2018
In an interview with Vogue Australia while in Sydney to celebrate Giorgio Armani’s latest fragrance, Si Passione, Blanchett (who is the face of the fragrance) revealed that she and Sandra Bullock got “penis facials” at Georgia Louise Atelier in New York. Quotes from other A-listers including Emma Stone, Katy Perry, makeup artist Gucci Westman, model Linda Evangelista and fashion designer Alexander Wang praise Louise and her services. "The foreskin is collected during circumcision and the stem cells are then harvested and extracted through a centrifuge," says Louise.  “I am always very mindful to explain radical serums and potions that I carry in my back bar, so I always explain that EGF is derived from newborn baby foreskin, but cells were taken and from that, new cells are cloned from a laboratory.”

Iceland's mooted circumcision ban sparks religious outrage
19 Feb 2018
Religious groups have condemned a bill in Iceland's parliament that would ban circumcision for non-medical reasons. The draft law would impose a six-year prison term on anyone guilty of "removing part or all of the [child's] sexual organs", arguing the practice violates the child's rights. Iceland would be the first European country to ban the procedure. Iceland passed a law in 2005 banning female genital mutilation, and supporters of this move have compared it to that law. Jewish and Muslim leaders however have called the bill an attack on religious freedom.

Swiss court acquits doctor who cut off 4yo’s penis in botched circumcision
19 Apr 2017
A Swiss doctor who cut off a young boy's penis during a circumcision operation has been acquitted of causing bodily harm through negligence. A court in Geneva said the factors involved in the incident had made the accident "unforeseeable,". The four-year-old boy's father was taking photos during the July 2014 operation. In doing so, the boy moved his pelvis, causing the surgeon to sever the penis, which fell to the floor.

Blood stained anti-circumcision group holds protest in Idaho Falls
19 Jul 2016
The demonstrators are part of Bloodstained Men – a group with the mission "to protect children and future generations from genital cutting." "Babies who bleed become men who bled," group spokesman Jason Fairfield tells EastIdahoNews.com. "We want to raise awareness that circumcision is more harmful than people realize."

Anti-Semitism row splits Germany's AfD populist party
06 Jul 2016
It's worth noting that AfD has reportedly dropped a proposal to ban circumcision from its recently published manifesto.

Israeli court fines woman for refusing to circumcise her son
28 Nov 2013
An Israeli woman has been fined by a religious court for refusing to circumcise her infant son. The rabbinical court ruled last week that circumcision was for the child's welfare and that the woman must pay 500 shekels (£86) a day until the child has had the procedure. The woman told the court she refuses to physically harm her son. The case is the first time a religious court in Israel has punished a parent for refusing to circumcise a child. There is no law requiring circumcision in Israel, but the vast majority of Jews are circumcised, in line with Jewish law. Rabbinical courts have authority over certain family matters. The justice ministry, which is representing the mother, said on Thursday it would be likely appeal the case to Israel's supreme court.

Egypt girl's death puts spotlight on genital mutilation
19 Jun 2013
The death of a 13-year-old girl during a genital mutilation procedure has brought the issue back into the spotlight in Egypt. While some Egyptians are fighting for the practice to be eradicated, others justify it in the name of religion. It has been condemned by international health organizations for years. It was made illegal in Egypt in 2008, and yet it is still very widely practiced. In some rural areas in Egypt, it is estimated that more than 75% of women have had the procedure, but it is common in urban areas too. About 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of female genital mutilation. Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth. The practice is mainly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who play other central roles in communities

UN hails drop in female genital mutilation
07 Feb 2013

Figures that reveal that fewer girls in Africa and the Middle East are being subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) show it is possible to end the practice, the UN has said. The UN data said it was particularly in decline amongst the young in Kenya. Kenyan women aged between 45 and 49 are three times more likely to have been cut than girls aged 15-19, it said.

Circumcision: German law will allow practice
10 Oct 2012
The German government has backed new legislation aimed at ending a legal dispute over the religious tradition of circumcision. Earlier this year, a regional court ruled that circumcision of newborn boys amounted to assault, prompting protests from Jewish and Muslim organizations. The new law will make circumcision explicitly legal, as long as it is carried out by trained experts, and parents are informed of any medical risks. Jewish leaders say the row has brought anti-Semitism back to the surface in Germany. The ruling also renewed debate over the practice in the US, one of the countries where circumcision is most common.

Germany Jews and Muslims protest at circumcision ruling
09 Sep 2012
Jewish and Muslim organizations have staged a joint protest in the German capital Berlin over a regional court's ruling that the circumcision of young boys constituted bodily harm. About a thousand people joined the protest to hear speeches from the chief rabbi of Berlin and other religious leaders. Both Jews and Muslims feel that, whatever the court intended, the ruling will be used as a way of attacking their religions. 

German postage stamp honors circumcision as ancient tradition
26 Aug 2012
As debate over circumcision rages in Germany, the postal service in that country has issued a commemorative stamp likely to play into the hands of those supporting the custom. The stamp, which will be released on September 11, contains a passage from the New Testament describing the circumcision of Jesus: “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus” ‏(Luke 2:21‏). [Holy Prepuce]

Circumcision, the ultimate parenting dilemma
20 Aug 2012
While Europe increasingly questions the practice of circumcising boys, US pediatricians are about to say that the medical case for it is getting stronger. Most US adult men are circumcised, but the number of newborns having the op is falling, and is now below 50% in some states - intensifying the dilemma for parents. Three-quarters of American adult men are circumcised. Circumcision rates vary wildly across the country - from more than 80% of newborns in states including Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kentucky, to around 20% on the West Coast. Unlike in Europe - where rates are low, and circumcision is mostly confined to the Jewish and Muslim communities - circumcision is one of the most common operations in the US.

Replace circumcision with symbolic ritual, says Norwegian children's watchdog
07 Aug 2012
Norway's ombudsman for children's rights has proposed that Jews and Muslims replace male circumcision with a symbolic, nonsurgical ritual. "Muslim and Jewish children are entitled to the same protection as all other children," adding that the practice caused unnecessary pain and was medically unbeneficial. Ervin Kohn, president of Oslo's Jewish Community, said that Norwegian Jews "will not be able to live in a society where circumcision is forbidden." 

German MPs vote to protect religious circumcision
19 July 2012
German lawmakers have passed a cross-party motion to protect religious circumcision, after a regional court ruled it amounted to bodily harm. Germany's main political parties - together with Jewish and Muslim groups - have criticized the ruling by the Cologne court in June. Chancellor Angela Merkel said it risked making Germany a "laughing stock". The motion says the government should "present a draft law that guarantees that the circumcision of boys. Jewish and Muslim religious life must continue to be possible in Germany. Circumcision has a central religious significance for Jews and Muslims." Thousands of Muslim and Jewish boys are circumcised in Germany every year.

Muslim and Jewish groups denounce German circumcision ruling
12 Jul 2012
European Jewish and Muslim groups have joined forces to defend circumcision for young boys on religious grounds after a German regional court ruled it amounted to bodily harm. A joint statement says the practice is fundamental to their faiths and calls for it to be awarded legal protection. Germany's Medical Association told doctors not to perform circumcisions. The ruling by the Cologne court followed a legal case involving a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a four year-old that led to medical complications. The court said that a child's right to physical integrity trumped religious and parental rights.

Circumcision ritual under fire in New York due to risk of herpes infection
07 Jul 2012
A controversial Jewish circumcision ritual is under fire after allegedly causing the deaths of two infants and exposing potentially thousands more to the risk of herpes infections. A circumcision ritual called "metzitzah b'peh," typically practiced by ultra-Orthodox Jews, during which the mohel, or person performing the procedure, orally sucks the blood from the infant's newly circumcised penis. The legislation was proposed after 11 infants contracted neonatal herpes between November 2000 and December 2011, after the circumcision ritual. Two of the infants died.

German court: Child circumcision 'an assault'
26 Jun 2012
A court in Germany has ruled that circumcising young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm. In a decision that has caused outrage among Jewish and Muslim groups, the court said that a child's right to physical integrity trumps religious and parental rights.

Zimbabwe's MPs to be circumcised in bid to fight HIV
22 Jun 2012
A group of Zimbabwean MPs is getting circumcised as part of a campaign to reduce HIV and Aids cases. Research by the UN has suggested male circumcision can reduce the spread of HIV and Aids. The country was one of 13 African states identified in 2007 as a priority for the development of male circumcision programs by the WHO and UNAids. The circumcision program had attracted a lot of attention in Zimbabwe, and had divided opinion.

San Francisco circumcision ban struck from ballot
28 Jul 2011
A San Francisco judge has struck a proposed male circumcision ban from a November ballot, ruling that the city cannot regulate medical procedure and citing religious freedom protections. The ruling was applauded by opponents of the proposed ban, who attacked it as anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim. California law gives the state, not a city, authority to regulate medical procedures.

Russell Crowe 'sorry' over circumcision Twitter comment
2011 Jun 14
Hollywood star Russell Crowe has apologized for criticizing the ritual of circumcision on his Twitter account. Crowe said the procedure was "barbaric and stupid" but later deleted his comments. He later wrote: "I'm very sorry that I have said things on here that have caused distress. My personal beliefs aside, I realize that some will interpret this... as me mocking rituals and traditions of others. I am very sorry," he added. San Francisco voters are due to face a proposal in November on banning circumcision for under-18s. Opponents say such a move would violate the rights of groups including Jews and Muslims who consider the practice a sacred religious rite.

Anti-circumcision comic offends Jewish leaders
2011 Jun 07]
An Internet comic featuring a blond Foreskin Man battling an evil Monster Mohel intent on circumcising a baby has angered local Jewish leaders who say it is anti-Semitic. In a comic book written by Hess and distributed at foreskinman.com, hero Foreskin Man takes on the evil Monster Mohel, who, the comic says, likes nothing more than "cutting into the infantile penile flesh of an 8-day-old boy." Foreskin Man is a strapping blond who wants to save the baby from the procedure that will be done by Monster Mohel, who is a depicted as a dark, bearded Jew in Orthodox garb, looming over a naked child on a table. A mohel is a Jew trained to perform religious circumcisions on babies.

'Intactivists' to San Francisco: Ban circumcision
19 Nov 2010
In the California city that banned Happy Meal toys, outlawed sitting on sidewalks during daylight hours and fined residents for not sorting garbage into recycling, compost and trash, Lloyd Schofield wants to add a new law to the books in San Francisco: A ban on all male circumcisions. Schofield and like-minded advocates who call themselves "intactivists" seek to make it "unlawful to circumcise, excise, cut, or mutilate the whole or any part of the foreskin, testicles, or penis" of anyone 17 or younger in San Francisco. The circumcision debate has passionate advocates on each side.

South African prisoners to be offered circumcision
29 Oct 2010
Prisoners in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province are to be circumcised to fight the spread of HIV in jail, the region's health minister has said. 148 prisoners had already been circumcised. Since April, when the health authorities in KwaZulu-Natal began their circumcision drive, more than 10,000 men have opted to be circumcised, the South African Press Association reports.

Circumcisions kill 20 boys in South Africa
18 Jun 2010
Twenty South African boys have died following botched circumcisions in the Eastern Cape Province. "The deaths occurred over the past 12 days, with nine of them occurring over the past 24 hours," said a provincial health spokesperson. Some 60 boys have been rescued from 11 initiation schools which have since been closed. "All 60 of them have septic wounds and are dehydrated," said Eastern Cape health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo, "Four of the boys even need their genitals removed completely, as it could result in death if it's not. We are just waiting for consent from their parents to perform the procedures."

Uncircumcised Pupils Sent Home
12 Feb 2007
A Kenyan secondary school has sent home 20 boys because they were not circumcised, saying it feared they would be bullied by other students.

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